It’s hard to believe 2023 has come to an end and we have entered a new year. Together, we have worked so hard this past year to raise awareness and make advances for the billions of farm animals suffering in factory farms around the globe.
By Lynn Kavanagh, Farming Campaign Manager
Fifty billion is an unimaginable number and hard to fathom, but that’s how many animals suffer every day in the industrial farming system, each one of them individuals with the capacity to feel joy and sadness, pain and pleasure.
Transforming the food system to one that is humane and sustainable is a lofty goal, but we are up for the challenge. It will take time and effort, but we will get there.
Working towards this goal, this past year, we have made many positive strides for animal welfare, the environment and human health. Here are just a few of them:
Collaborating with government for systemic change in animal agriculture
Our work building support within the federal government to move away from industrial animal agriculture in favour of more plant-based production and consumption is gaining momentum. In 2023, we:
We leveraged the global stage of COP28, advocating for Canada to acknowledge and act on the links between animal agriculture, habitat destruction, and climate change. Our presence at COP28 included hosting and participating in side events and mobilizing over 5,300 Canadian supporters and 10 MPs, to call on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, to address animal agriculture's significant climate impact.
Using our evidence and expertise to drive change
Our commitment to transforming the lives of farmed animals is grounded in rigorous research, a commitment that is exemplified by the reports we published this past year:
‘Reducing Antibiotic Use in Farming Through Improvements to Animal Welfare’ highlights the widespread overuse of antibiotics in intensive animal agriculture and demonstrates how animal welfare improvements are a key strategy to reduce this dependency. It underscores the intertwined nature of animal health and public health, highlighting actionable solutions to combat antibiotic resistance.
We will be using the report to lobby the government to make policy changes. To gain support, we are drafting a scientist sign-on letter which will be presented to the federal government. We will also be hosting a webinar for corporations and financial institutions to engage them on the issue and encourage them to do their part to support a food system transition.
We are in discussions with dairy businesses, retailers and farming groups about supporting our recommendations for better traceability and calling on governments for reduced transport times, which would spare cows the arduous journey to slaughterhouses across the country or to the United States.
A “cull” dairy cow in an auction holding pen (Photo: Julie LP / We Animals Media).
Following the report's recommendations, we conducted workshops with producers and emergency professionals to develop a community first-responder model, enhancing preparedness and response in agricultural communities for future climate disasters. Our findings and recommendations will be presented to the British Columbia government, contributing to the development of new, more effective emergency management legislation.
Continuing our research to shape the future of farming
Our collaboration with Navius Research this year follows up on our previous report, ‘Animal-sourced food consumption and Canada’s emissions targets’, showing how increased plant-based eating can significantly reduce food-related emissions in line with Canada's emission reduction targets. This new study focuses on policy measures to encourage less meat and dairy consumption, including proposals like setting a cap on animal agriculture production.
We launched a groundbreaking study to analyze the animal welfare policies and investments of Canada's major financial institutions. This first-of-its-kind benchmarking report in Canada examines how banks and pension funds support major meat and dairy companies. It provides a ranking of these institutions, creating a tool for ongoing stakeholder engagement and helping our supporters choose more animal-friendly financial options. Alongside our research, we've been actively participating in the Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investment sector. Our team has attended key events across Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, focusing on integrating animal welfare considerations into the financial conversation. These engagements have been crucial in drawing attention to the interconnectedness of climate change, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), biodiversity, and industrial animal agriculture. Our presence in these forums underscores the importance of considering animal welfare in the financial space.
Advocating for more plant-based options
Thanks to your unwavering support, 2023 has been a year of remarkable progress to a world that is less dependent on meat. Our popular Meatless Meal Planner continues to guide many towards more sustainable eating habits, with an increasing number sharing their favourite plant-based recipes. Here are some standout contributions:
Additionally, our campaign to encourage Tim Hortons to introduce plant-based options has seen growing support, thanks to the many who signed our petition. We'll continue to keep you informed and involved in this important initiative.
Thanks to your support in 2023, World Animal Protection significantly impacted the lives of farmed animals. As we journey into 2024, your continued support is indispensable. Join our community to stay updated on how you can contribute to the global protection of animals.